Open Ocean

The MIT Media Lab’s Open Ocean Initiative is no longer active. This site provides background on some of the people and projects that were associated with this research. The most current information about Media Lab research can be found in our Research section.

For full documentation of Open Ocean's activities from 2017 to 2021, please visit:

Katy Croff Bell, former director of the Open Ocean Initiative, is now the founder of the Ocean Discovery League, which aims to remove barriers to exploration of the deep sea through the development of AI-driven data analysis, low-cost deep sea technologies, and capacity building with historically excluded communities. 

The ocean is vast. It covers more than 70% of the surface of our planet and holds 97% of the water on Earth. 

The ocean is exciting. We swim, surf, dive, and play in it. We romanticize pirates, dream of merfolk, and love to be frightened of sea monsters. 

The ocean is critical. We rely on the sea for food, energy, and environmental protection. 

And yet, the ocean remains mysterious. Only 15% of the seafloor has been mapped by modern methods, and perhaps 5% has ever been seen by human eyes.

The Open Ocean initiative works at the intersection of science, technology, art, and society to design and deploy new ways to understand the ocean and connect people to it in novel ways, empowering a global community of explorers. Together, we will discover the unknown, the extremes, and the wonder of the sea—because the ocean is for everyone.